Teaching With Gadgets

How Technology Can Help Today's Teacher

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Free Gradebook 2...

Excelsior Software is now providing free copies of Gradebook 2. All you need to do is go to their site http://www.excelsiorsoftware.com and register in order to download the program. It's a great deal for the price!

When choosing an assessment package I do have criteria. First, there must be a flexible grading system. Being an elementary school teacher, I personally have a problem with assigning percentages to students at these levels (which always begs the question "What's the difference between 85% and 81% other than 4%?). Gradebook 2 allows for a large variety of different systems.

Secondly, I need a place to record anecdotal comments. There has often been the argument that parents only look at the grades. I tend to disagree and believe that an ongoing narrative about the student can enhance understanding. Gradebook 2 allows for this.

Finally, I have been very interested with regard to standards based grading. Now, we do not have to grade standards in my little corner of Canada (thank God!) but I do think that it's a great practice so that you can identify areas of concern and know where to provide extra help with students. Again, it can also enhance understanding for students and parents (remember, assessment FOR learning rather than OF learning). Gradebook 2 provides this as well.

The only thing missing? A PDA application. Yeah, I know, it's available for $500 US for the school but I think it would be nice to buy it on it's own. PDA's can make the collection of assessment data an easy chore.

So, check out Gradebook 2 for the price. Me? I think I'll keep testing Gradebook Wizard and Easygrade Pro and make a decision from there. Without PDA support out of the box, Gradebook 2 cannot find its way into my teacher toolbox.